October 2, 2020 | News | No Comments
Two new polls released on Thursday highlight a disturbing reality: In a race between two unpopular candidates, an excited base could mean everything. And in the case of the current presidential contest—a race that observers say is “hers to lose”—the failure of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to inspire voters could prove her ultimate downfall.
The latest update of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times national tracking poll found that Donald Trump’s advantage over Clinton “grew to nearly six percentage points on Thursday, his largest advantage since his post-convention bounce in July.”
According to the LA Times, the biggest reason for the bump “appears to be an increase in the likelihood of Trump supporters who say they plan to vote, combined with a drop among Clinton supporters on that question. The nominees are now roughly equal in the voting commitment of their supporters, erasing an advantage previously held by Clinton.”
Similarly, the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that in a four-way race, the two leading party candidates are tied at 42 percent while Libertarian Gary Johnson wins eight percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein takes four.
According to RealClearPolitics’ national polling average, in a two-way race, Clinton’s lead over her Republican rival has dropped to less than two points from eight points in early August.
And although the public continues to express record dissatisfaction with both candidates, the New York Times suggests that Trump’s antagonistic bombast has galvanized more enthusiasm among supporters.
“Over all, just 43 percent of likely voters describe themselves as very enthusiastic about casting a ballot in November,” the New York Times reports. “Fifty-one percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters say they are very enthusiastic about voting; 43 percent of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters say they are very enthusiastic.”
The lackluster support is particularly evident among young voters, many of whom were devotees of former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. According to the New York Times/CBS survey, more than a third of likely voters age 18-29 back a third-party candidate.
Another shocking take-away from that poll is that Trump and Clinton are virtually tied among white women with 45 and 46 percent, respectively.
It is worth noting that this latest installment of the New York Times/ CBS poll is the first to include a measure of likely voters, which weighs respondents by their answers to questions about voting history, attention to the campaign, and likelihood of voting. As New York Magazine‘s Ed Kilgore pointed out, this factor typically gives Republican candidates a “bump” that may continue to boost Trump in future polling as other surveys begin to include this measure.
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